Leaning In When Life Is Hard
Life is hard. We get asked to juggle a lot of different and difficult things in our lives. On a regular basis we end up studying for multiple tests in a week, working over-time to pay off student debt, staying up late to maintain strained relationships, or sweating to make it to our internship to further our careers. Oh, and don’t forget to incorporate some Jesus time and the simple act of functioning in there too.
It’s easy when things get difficult to put all our focus on the issues at hand. We hone in and stress about eliminating the problem until it’s perfect and taken care of. But for some reason when there is strain or attention required in our relationship with Jesus, it quickly gets pushed to the side for later repair.
Instead of an urgency to fix and protect our relationship with Jesus, there is a habit to neglect and starve it until we become comfortable with it no longer existing.
John Piper puts it this way:
“I am astonished at people who say they believe in God but live as if happiness is found by giving him 2% of their attention.”
We hear all the time that the key to happiness is balance. Life is a balance. Balance is the key to everything. But as good as that sounds, happiness cannot be found in the perfect balance of family, finances, friends and faith. True joy can only be found in allowing your faith to become your foundation and highest life priority. That’s it. No balancing act required.
It’s like a waitress balancing a tray in each hand and an apple on her head. Some people can get really good at this kind of balance with practice, but you put a slippery floor or an uneven surface under her feet and it all quickly topples down. If you haven’t allowed Jesus to come through and wipe up your slippery floors or restore the uneven foundation in your life, your hardships and happiness will both quickly turn to rubbish.
Our relationship with our Heavenly Father should not be treated as though disposable or simply another asset to balance — it should be the only thing our eyes are set on. Nothing else matters. We must realize that the success and joy we receive from anything we do in life is contingent upon the steadfastness and stability of our foundation in Christ.
We all do a lot of hard things in this life. And it’s funny how even though things are difficult to accomplish at times, we still manage to do them — we manage to get up every morning, make ends meet and still find love in our hearts to share to one another.
So let’s begin to shift our focus to this, yes, sometimes difficult, yet constantly rewarding, foundational thing of maintaining our relationship with God. Because without Him, we can do nothing. But with Him we can do anything.
“These precious and astonishing promises of God’s favor do not belong to everyone. There is a condition. It is not a condition of work or payment. An infinitely happy, sovereign God does not need your work and already owns all your resources. The condition is that you become a Christian Hedonist — that you stop trying to pay or work for him or run from him, and instead, begin to seek with all your heart that incomparable joy of fellowship with the living God.” - John Piper
“You, Lord, are all I have, and you give me all I need… I am always aware of the Lord’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me. And so I am thankful and glad, and I feel completely secure because you protect me…” Psalm 16:5-10
“And my God will supply every need of your according to his in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Caroline Mitchell // @caroline_mitchell